Author Topic: Extech EX330 Quality issue  (Read 11024 times)

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Offline mitpatterson

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Extech EX330 Quality issue
« on: January 20, 2013, 10:20:55 am »
So I posted photos of my meter on twitter where the NCV(Non Contact Voltage Dectector) LEC"s wasn't soldered fully. Extech sent me a new one and it is even worse. See the pictures below along with Extechs response to the second fail.

Response:
Quote
Mitch, I have a letter from Gerry Gagnon who is our Supplier Quality Manager:

Mitch,
 
Your email with photographs was sent to our Supplier Quality Engineer for IPC-A-610 analysis. IPC-A-610 is a worldwide quality acceptance standard that defines quality acceptance for PCBA. From the photographs the items identified, although unsightly, meet form, fit, function and reliability per IPC-A-610 for high volume manufactured PCBAs.
 
I understand that you are analyzing the meter for craftsmanship, and are looking for a higher build quality. While the photos you have taken, don't show a clean, "perfect" look,  I can assure you, that your Extech meter is manufactured to standard manufacturing requirements. The "dirty" parts that you observed are a result of using lead free (RoHS) solder, and "No Clean Flux." The increased heat of soldering with lead free solder creates more spatter/splashes of flux along with bits of carbonized flux resin particles. The appearance is acceptable because the flux is very low activity and tends to encapsulates anything ionic.  This is why PCB's made using no clean, environmentally safe fluxes, are not designed to be cleaned. The cold solder joints mentioned are more a function of balancing the heat demand to form an acceptable joint on a large part surface using lead free solder against damaging the multilayer PCB.
 
We are working every day to improve the quality of our products, and we thoroughly appreciate your input, photographs, and criticisms. We guarantee our product, and will gladly replace it under its current warranty.
 
 
 
Thanks and Best regards,

 Gerry Gagnon

Supplier Quality Manager

Pictures:

Bad Soldering on input resistor
Bad Soldering on Input Jack
Current Shunt not fully soldered


The question now, does anyone here have any experience with IPC-A-610? Does anyone know if this meets "standards" I still don't think it does. Just wondering if any one elses  :bullshit: is going off
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2013, 10:34:50 am »
It is difficult to form an opinion about your meter's PCB soldering quality, as your pictures are rather blurry.
I certainly don't see anything alarming, at first glance.
If the meter works, I would accept Extech's explanations and get on with it.
If you're looking for the best workmanship and peace of mind, consider Fluke's or Agilent's meters.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2013, 12:09:41 pm »
It is indeed difficult to see details on your pictures.

Anyhow, I think you should let it go. Not because you are right or wrong, but because do you really want to waste more time on this?

Extech has done a classic rhetoric move, citing an authority, the IPC inspection document, and an inspector. You would now have to argument against these. The first problem, getting the IPC document, it is expensive. The second problem, going through the document. The third problem, it is for sure a few hundred pages. The forth problem, it likely refers to 10, twenty or even hundred documents of similar size. The fifth problem, they all cost money, too. The sixth problem, all the documents for sure contains parts that are subject to interpretation.The seventh problem, they for sure contain some exemptions hidden somewhere, only known by the experts. The eighths problem, there are for sure optional or alternative parts in it, and you don't know which options or alternatives Extech did chose.

Do you start to get an idea what this harmless citing of an IPC document really means? It is now their expert against your expert. You do have an expert at hand, don't you? And I don't mean some random guys on the Internet.

Do you really want to start arguing that the burns are burns (IMHO not permitted, but I am not an IPC-A 610 expert), or only discoloration (IMHO partly permitted)? Do you want to argue that the dirt and solder splashes can come loose (IMHO not permitted), or are fixed (IMHO partly permitted)? Or do you want to argue that the wetting of some pads is below the required minimum, or just at it? Or that the solder balls are a defect or maybe allowed because of some exception?

Sometimes it is easier to just cut your losses and walk away.
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Offline grenert

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2013, 04:12:58 pm »
I can't see anything in your photos, but if you are going to get upset over some sloppy soldering, you should stay away from $50 multimeters.  If it works, forget about it.
 

Offline Spawn

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2013, 05:04:39 pm »
mitpatterson , like previous posters said your photo’s are not clear enough and at first glance the soldering looks okay, I think you used the camera on your mobile phone, if you have a proper camera we could see more.

Maybe you know or not I had some bad workmanship issues with my https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/teardown-extech-ex570-my-first-but-also-last-extech/]Extech EX570[/url], but unlike your photo’s I could show in my photo’s where the problems where with bad soldering, lead contacts falling off and metal shield laying on the components with a broken solder point.  Extech couldn’t throw anything back at me because everything was clear to see.

EX570 is 4 and half times more expensive than EX330 but unlike grenert says you should expect more from a company as Extech even on lower price range, the thing is if your soldering is bad, which I can’t make out of your photo’s,  this is getting a big problem for Extech, it looks like one of their manufacturers is not meeting their requirements probably they regret to do business with them by now and should take necessary steps for that.

Like grenert says if it works but soldering looks bad but there is no contact issues, you shouldn’t worry about it, bad quality soldering can be only visual like to much solder or like in my case not enough solder and half of the parts making barely contact, if I had the first case like yours I would mumble and whine about it but I wouldn’t make big problem out of it.

Offline Lightages

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2013, 07:10:50 pm »
I agree it doesn't look optimum, especially the current shunt but it is not dangerous. It just looks like more Extech EX series sloppiness to me.
 

Offline marshallh

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2013, 08:01:20 pm »
I'm not sure why you're comparing a $50 white-label cheapo meter to a more expensive Fluke/Agilent.

You get what you pay for.
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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2013, 08:22:58 pm »
I'm not sure why you're comparing a $50 white-label cheapo meter to a more expensive Fluke/Agilent.

Because Extech wants to be a "player", so they get judged like one.
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Offline reagle

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2013, 11:56:45 pm »
With IPC, you need to know which class they are claiming. Class 3 is military, 2- commercial, 1 is consumer. Depending on the class, the spec allows various things, like how much the parts can be off pads by and so on. Not cleaning the no-clean solder flux is common at least in class 2.

Offline IanB

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2013, 03:42:41 am »
Pictures: ...

I looked at your pictures, but nothing stands out. I can't see what you think is wrong. Maybe if you posted sharper pictures and circled the particular solder joints you think are unacceptable?
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline mitpatterson

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2013, 04:13:15 am »
Pictures: ...

I looked at your pictures, but nothing stands out. I can't see what you think is wrong. Maybe if you posted sharper pictures and circled the particular solder joints you think are unacceptable?

I tried to take more pictures. Hope these are better. I added a red circle around the "problem" area. Unfortunately the only camera I have is my cell phone. Sorry if the photos are too big I didn't resize them as small as last time in hopes of preserving some of the sharpness(the little that there is)

This isn't so much a solder joint just poor workmanship. The resitor is bend OVER the screw

This is residue on one of the input resistors

The 10A current shunt not fully soldered, you can still see the gold/copper pads around it.

The "cold" joint on the 10A input jack, it also has a lot of residue

Different angle of the 10A input jack

Other side of the 10A input jack showing poor wetting on that side
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 09:07:57 am by mitpatterson »
 

Offline mitpatterson

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 04:14:25 am »
It is indeed difficult to see details on your pictures.

Anyhow, I think you should let it go. Not because you are right or wrong, but because do you really want to waste more time on this?

Extech has done a classic rhetoric move, citing an authority, the IPC inspection document, and an inspector. You would now have to argument against these. The first problem, getting the IPC document, it is expensive. The second problem, going through the document. The third problem, it is for sure a few hundred pages. The forth problem, it likely refers to 10, twenty or even hundred documents of similar size. The fifth problem, they all cost money, too. The sixth problem, all the documents for sure contains parts that are subject to interpretation.The seventh problem, they for sure contain some exemptions hidden somewhere, only known by the experts. The eighths problem, there are for sure optional or alternative parts in it, and you don't know which options or alternatives Extech did chose.

Do you start to get an idea what this harmless citing of an IPC document really means? It is now their expert against your expert. You do have an expert at hand, don't you? And I don't mean some random guys on the Internet.

Do you really want to start arguing that the burns are burns (IMHO not permitted, but I am not an IPC-A 610 expert), or only discoloration (IMHO partly permitted)? Do you want to argue that the dirt and solder splashes can come loose (IMHO not permitted), or are fixed (IMHO partly permitted)? Or do you want to argue that the wetting of some pads is below the required minimum, or just at it? Or that the solder balls are a defect or maybe allowed because of some exception?

Sometimes it is easier to just cut your losses and walk away.

I posted some new photos. but yes, I see what you mean. Its really hard for me(the more or less average consumer) to prove that THEY are wrong. I do more or less plan on cutting my losses but just kinda want to get an idea here.
 

Offline mitpatterson

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 04:18:04 am »
mitpatterson , like previous posters said your photo’s are not clear enough and at first glance the soldering looks okay, I think you used the camera on your mobile phone, if you have a proper camera we could see more.

Maybe you know or not I had some bad workmanship issues with my https://www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/teardown-extech-ex570-my-first-but-also-last-extech/]Extech EX570[/url], but unlike your photo’s I could show in my photo’s where the problems where with bad soldering, lead contacts falling off and metal shield laying on the components with a broken solder point.  Extech couldn’t throw anything back at me because everything was clear to see.

EX570 is 4 and half times more expensive than EX330 but unlike grenert says you should expect more from a company as Extech even on lower price range, the thing is if your soldering is bad, which I can’t make out of your photo’s,  this is getting a big problem for Extech, it looks like one of their manufacturers is not meeting their requirements probably they regret to do business with them by now and should take necessary steps for that.

Like grenert says if it works but soldering looks bad but there is no contact issues, you shouldn’t worry about it, bad quality soldering can be only visual like to much solder or like in my case not enough solder and half of the parts making barely contact, if I had the first case like yours I would mumble and whine about it but I wouldn’t make big problem out of it.

Your is a lot worse then mine, it just seems like a general lack of workman ship. Remember Dave's meter that had the bodge folded piece of wire in place of the PCB  :-BROKE
 

Offline mitpatterson

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2013, 04:19:52 am »
With IPC, you need to know which class they are claiming. Class 3 is military, 2- commercial, 1 is consumer. Depending on the class, the spec allows various things, like how much the parts can be off pads by and so on. Not cleaning the no-clean solder flux is common at least in class 2.

I'm not sure what class they are trying to claim. By the wording in the email I would guess class 1(Consumer) since he mentioned " high volume manufactured PCBAs" but i would be wrong.
 

Offline mitpatterson

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2013, 04:20:46 am »
I'm not sure why you're comparing a $50 white-label cheapo meter to a more expensive Fluke/Agilent.

You get what you pay for.

I did not compare this to a Fluke/Agilent. I don't think anyone is.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2013, 02:38:52 pm »
I think everyone's opinion on what $50 meters should be changed after the UT61E started getting lots of press.
The UT61E is simply much much, much better built.
 

Offline Spawn

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2013, 03:41:12 pm »
 mitpatterson, seeing your new photos i wouldnt worry about it  ^-^ it sure looks not clean and some visually bad soldering but it is not like it would make bad contacts.

I think everyone's opinion on what $50 meters should be changed after the UT61E started getting lots of press.
The UT61E is simply much much, much better built.

Okay... I didn’t see someone mention about UT61E in this topic, point being?

Offline RamboJj

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2013, 03:48:35 am »
While I'm no expert on any of this I wonder if just simply adding a little solder to the input current shunts would fix the issue or if it would throw off the values the meter reads. Would you need to then re-calibrate the meter after doing something like that, I would think so and as long as the meter is operating right it shouldn't cause any issues.


I have a extech 330 myself but mine doesn't seem to have these issues that are in this thread. I have full solder across everything and it looks like it should for the most part, though there is a bit excess solder in a couple spots but not as bad as the OPs device has.
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Offline ConnorGames

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2013, 10:15:12 pm »
Spent a few hours 2 weekends ago finding and fixing a poorly soldered MELF diode in the ac-dc converter on an extech MN16A. Extech just can't seem to get soldering right. BTW, this meter was broken when I got it, but the store didn't have more (It was on clearence at radioshack, voltage detector stick + meter for $30, and a reasonable meter for the price, too), and I didn't want to have to use my radioshack pocket meter (my first meter, look for a thread about how crappy it is soon) while it was being repaired. Not that it was really worth my time to fix, but the experience was worth it.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2013, 02:56:18 pm »
I think everyone's opinion on what $50 meters should be changed after the UT61E started getting lots of press.
The UT61E is simply much much, much better built.

Okay... I didn’t see someone mention about UT61E in this topic, point being?
50 buck meters. A certain greek guy thinks that you must spend 300$ to have a "meter" I still maintain my stance that you need to know what you are buying/doing
 

Offline Spawn

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2013, 06:07:52 pm »
That "certain" Greek guy is right if you use it professionally but it doesn’t need to be 300USD, for a hobbyist different story.
Drop your Uni-T couple times from 5 meter and you will understand what I mean, I can’t imagine using any 50USD meter at my work.

Online mariush

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2013, 06:21:29 pm »
If you're so clumsy to drop stuff more than 5 times on the floor, maybe you need to put your equipment in some sort of cover and tie them to your body with something, like a strap or key chain.

Do you also buy toughbook laptop because you drop your laptops 5 times?

Anyway, that annoying greek guy can recommend expensive meters all he likes... who earns a living out of electronics or industrial stuff also has the wages/salary to afford $300  meters or the company buys them for him.
The problem is he comments in every review of lower end meters comparing these meters with meters 2-3x more expensive and it's downright annoying.

I think Dave himself saw it on his own skin... the Rigol 1052 was adequate for his needs once he no longer had the thousand dollars scopes from his work place.
 

Offline Spawn

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2013, 06:33:43 pm »
Mariush I am not attacking anyone personaly here I am giving a example, if I thought UT61E was not worth I wouldn’t ordered one, hell i even own 5USD pocket meters, you shouldn’t take it literally about the 5 meter drop. What I am trying to explain is when you have a meter like UT61E in your toolbox for more than couple years it just won’t last. And this is also from a industrial electrician for 23 years, but I am glad I don’t have to pay the meters at work. Just trying to be realistic.

Offline RamboJj

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2013, 02:36:48 am »
While I'm no expert on any of this I wonder if just simply adding a little solder to the input current shunts would fix the issue or if it would throw off the values the meter reads. Would you need to then re-calibrate the meter after doing something like that, I would think so and as long as the meter is operating right it shouldn't cause any issues.


I have a extech 330 myself but mine doesn't seem to have these issues that are in this thread. I have full solder across everything and it looks like it should for the most part, though there is a bit excess solder in a couple spots but not as bad as the OPs device has.

Did I ask a completely stupid question or something?
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Offline Mediarocker

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2013, 06:01:54 am »
I personally do not see any MAJOR issues with the board. The soldering joints are a bit of crap, but to be completely honest, I really don't expect perfection out of a lower end meter. If it works properly and has no faults, then I do not see the issue.

Granted, if this were on a much more expensive unit, I would personally raise cain. Here's the fact of the matter in my honest opinion. If you really plan on using your meter to it's full capabilities, I find that you should just spend the money up front and get a capable meter. There are plenty around the $75-$100 price range that are perfectly capable of doing everything most hobbyists need. However, if you are only going to use it once in a blue moon, have no need for massive input capacity and extreme accuracy, then a $50 meter is right up your alley, and personally I see no room for complaints in cosmetics if they are purely cosmetics. Beggars cannot be choosers. There is a reason why there are meters out there that are more expensive.

With that being said, there are much more capable meters in the $50 price range that many may deem "higher quality". Personally I would edge toward one of them. But having owned Extech products and used them without fail in both a hobby and professional context, I would have to say that you most definitely get what you pay for.

If your meter did not operate in it's Category as promised, then you most definitely have a case. (however I wouldn't trust my life in a CAT III environment to a $50 multimeter. That's just how I feel about it.)
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 06:06:45 am by Mediarocker »
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Extech EX330 Quality issue
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2013, 06:15:01 pm »
$50. Glass fuses.
There are much safer alternatives like the UT61E if you don't need a backlight
 


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